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Avro Canada

Starting life repairing and servicing Second World War era aircraft types, investing in research and development activities working on potential jet engine designs, a jet-powered fighter and a commercial jet airliner programme.
Avro Canada logo

Avro Canada was originally formed as National Steel Car Limited of Montreal, but when the Canadian Government took over the ownership and management of the Company in 1942, it was renamed Victory Aircraft Limited. 

Victory Aircraft were one of a number of factories building British aircraft designs for the Royal Air Force, in relative safety, away from German air raids.  They produced Avro Ansons, Handley Page Hampden bombers, Hawker Hurricane fighters and the Westland Lysander.

In addition they built a number of Avro types including Lancaster (430), Anson (3,197) as well as Lancastrian (6) and single examples of the Lincoln and York Transport aircraft.

In 1945, the United Kingdom’s Hawker Siddeley Group purchased Victory Aircraft from the Canadian Government and created A.V. Roe Canada Limited commonly known as Avro Canada, a wholly-owned Canadian subsidiary.

The company started life repairing and servicing Second World War era aircraft types. 

However, it also invested in research and development activities working on potential jet engine designs, a jet-powered fighter and a commercial jet airliner programme. 

Their first project was the development of the Orenda jet engine in 1949.  This was followed by the Avro XC-100, Canada’s first jet fighter, which was renamed the CF-100 when it entered Royal Canadian Air Force service in 1952. 

A commercial aircraft, the C-102 Jetliner, was also developed and first flew just 13 days after the De Havilland Comet.  However, orders were not forthcoming and only one prototype was ever built before the programme was eventually cancelled in 1951.  The company also built an advanced twin-jet supersonic fighter (Avro CF-105 Arrow) which was test flown but never entered production.

Despite huge funding and a degree of success, the project was eventually overcome by the development of US interest of the Hawker Harrier.

Avro Canada CF-105 Avro Canada CF-105

A.V. Roe Canada Limited was re-structured in the mid-1950's as a holding company with two separate aviation subsidiaries: Avro Aircraft Limited and Orenda Engines.

During this period A.V. Roe Canada also acquired a number of other holdings including Dominion Steel and Coal Corporation, Canada Car and Foundry, as well as Canadian Steel Improvement Limited.
 
By 1958, A.V. Roe Canada Limited had become an industrial giant, employing more than 50,000 people, generating annual sales of $450 million making it the third largest corporation in Canada.  
 
In the mid-1950's a number of talented aeronautical engineers and designers emigrated to Canada. one of which was John 'Jack' Frost who worked extensively for De Havilland on the DH108 Swallow project.  Frost was considered to be a 'Maverick' and ensconsed himself behind locked doors, 'surrounded by secrecy' until he worked closely with NASA and the US Air Force in the development of the radical Avro AVROCAR.
Avro Canada AVROCAR VZ9 Avro Canada AVROCAR VZ9

In 1962, the Hawker Siddeley Group dissolved A.V. Roe Canada and transferred all the company’s assets into a new company, Hawker Siddeley Canada.  By the late 1990s Hawker Siddeley Canada had sold off almost all of its assets and had ceased trading.

Genealogy

  National Steel Car Limited                                                                                
1942 Victory Aircraft Limited
1945 AV Roe Canada Limited
1960 Hawker Siddeley Canada
  Bombardier Transportation

Aircraft

1949 Avro C102 Jetliner 1958 Avro CF-105 Arrow
1950 Avro CF-100 Canuck 1959 Avro VZ-9-AV Avrocar

More Information

 

Please note that the information shown is based on that available at the time of the creation of this web page - If you have any additions or corrections please contact: Heritage@baesystems.com